LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MAINE
The Maine Voter
Volume 27, Number 2 May 2010
6Contents / Page
President’s Letter / 1
Quad States Leadership Development / 2
From the State House / 3
Citizen Activists – A Book Review / 3
Governor’s Race / 4
New PAC Study Paper / 5
Health Care Legislation / 6
Sisters on the Planet / 7
Register for Quad States / 7
Join the League
Calendar / 7
Barbara McDade / Bangor
Sarah Walton /
Colleen Tucker / Portland
Ann Luther / Trenton
Cathie Whittenburg / Ellsworth
Editor: Martha Dickinson
Contributors: Barbara McDade, Ann Luther, Malory Shaughnessy, Michelle Small, Pam Person
The League of Women Voters of Maine, a nonpartisan political organization,
encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major political policy issues, and
influences public policy through
education and advocacy.
League of Women Voters of Maine
P. O. Box 863
Augusta, ME 04332-0863
QUAD STATES LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
The Leagues of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will meet at the Hampton Inn in Wells, Maine, on May 22 and 23, 2010, for their 4th annual Quad States Leadership Development Conference.
On site check-in begins at 9 AM. The program will commence at 10 AM with a keynote speech by Professor Jim Melcher, University of Maine at Farmington, on Political Discourse in the U.S. In addition to being a gifted academic, Dr. Melcher is one of Farmington's most popular faculty members. He is also a talented impersonator and often infuses his highly entertaining lectures with dead-on impressions of politicians, news broadcasters, pop icons and others. He will be speaking to us about civility in government, past and present.
Workshops will be offered on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Some of the questions that will be addressed are: How can the League use social networking to disseminate voter and candidate information to 21st century voters? What alternatives exist to traditional candidate forums? What are alternative voting systems and how could they increase voter involvement and provide a more accurate picture of voters' preferences? Each of the three workshops listed below will be offered twice.
· Alternative Voting Systems: Terry Bouricius, LWV Champlain Valley, VT and FairVote (tentative).
· Get Out the Vote/Voter Service (nontraditional outreach, Vote411): Judy Davis, LWVUS Board Liaison, and TBA.
· Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube): Nancy Lynch, LWV Central Vermont and Executive Director, Peace and Justice Center, VT.
Climate and Clean Energy Leader Awards
Immediately following the last workshop, at approximately 11:30 AM, on Sunday, LWVME and Oxfam America will co-host a Climate and Clean Energy Leader Awards Ceremony. LWVUS President Mary Wilson will introduce the program. Liz Carty, Senior Advisor for Oxfam America, will give a short video presentation on
the Sisters on the Planet project, and LWVME President Barbara McDade will present the awards. All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation have been invited to receive these awards. Senators Snowe and Collins and Representatives Michaud and Pingree have long been committed to action on climate change and clean energy. Representatives Michaud and Pingree plan to attend. Senators Snowe and Collins will send aides to accept their awards.
President Mary Wilson to Attend Our 90th Anniversary Celebration Luncheon
The Leagues of Women Voters of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island invite everyone to join in celebrating the 90th anniversary of the League of Women Voters of the United States at a luncheon honoring LWVUS president Mary Wilson. This luncheon will start at 12:30PM on Sunday, May 23, after the Awards Ceremony. The cost for the luncheon is $25.00 each. Please check that you will attend this event on the Quad States registration form.
Registration for the conference is due May 10. Please send in the registration form at the end of this newsletter with your payment soon, and indicate if you will also attend the awards ceremony and luncheon.
Make your own hotel reservation at Hampton Inn & Suites, 900 Post Road, Wells, Maine 04090 (207-646-0555). Be sure to say you are with the League of Women Voters and the room rate will be $95.23 (incl. tax). Find a roommate to share and the cost will be $47.60 per person. Our block of rooms will be held until May 16th, but the rate will be in effect until the event. Breakfast is included in the room rate. We will have dinner in area restaurants on Saturday.
This has been a stimulating and well-received event for the past three years. Please join us!
THE STATE HOUSE
The 124th Maine State Legislature convened for the second regular session on January 6, 2010 andadjourned Sine DieApril 12, 2010, at 4:57 pm.
Bills that are not enacted as emergency legislation will take effect 90 days after adjournment - July 12th.
The League Lobby Corps continues to be a presence in the State House and at the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee, which has oversight in most of our priority areas. Volunteers from the Lobby Corps were present for virtually all of the public hearings and work sessions on the bills of interest to the League.
Because it was a short session, many fewer bills were heard and the League followed fewer of these. Whereas in the first session, the Legislature considered nearly 1,500 bills; in the second session, it took up fewer than 400, including a few that were carried over.
The League followed just a dozen bills in the priority areas of election methods, election administration, campaign finance, citizen initiatives and people’s veto, and freedom of information. Here are some of the important developments. Complete information is available at the League web site, http://www.lwvme.org/LOI2010.html.
· LD 56 An Act To Join the Interstate Compact on the National Popular Vote
This was a carryover bill from the first session. League members will recall that the 2009 LWVUS Study on the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact resulted in no consensus among League members, and thus no advocacy position for the League. We did offer testimony neither for nor against this bill in the first session, but we did not offer testimony in the second session.
The bill received a divided report from the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee, with a narrow 7-6 majority voting Ought to Pass. But the majority OTP report failed to carry in a roll call vote in the House (50-95), and the bill died in concurrence.
· LD 1730 An Act To Strengthen the Ballot Initiative Process
In response to ballot initiative activity in the 2009 general election, four bills proposed various reforms to the Citizen Initiative and People’s Veto processes. Proposed reforms included raising the number of signatures required to put a question on the ballot.
In the end, LD 1730 was the designated vehicle for those proposals that had broad support, and this bill – frequently amended – passed both houses and was signed into law on April 6.
Among the significant provisions of the new law are ones that require paid signature gatherers to register with the Secretary of State and that allow extra time for appealing the decision of the Secretary of State to certify or reject petitions.
· LD 1579 An Act to Facilitate Voting by Uniformed Service and Overseas Voters
This bill allows voters from all municipalities in the State to request absentee ballots using the Secretary of State's online absentee ballot request service. Furthermore, it allows the Secretary of State to facilitate voting by uniformed service and overseas voters by allowing central issuance, receipt, and counting of the absentee ballots of these voters and electronic transmission of absentee ballots to and receipt of absentee ballots from these voters.
LD1579 passed with some amendments, was signed into law with an emergency preamble, and takes effect immediately, although the bill specifies that its provisions are not applicable to the June primary.
- Ann Luther, Trenton
LWVME Advocacy Chair
Alison Smith Is Highlighted In Book On Citizen Activists
Author Paul Loeb has updated and re-released his book, Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times (St. Martin's Press, April 2010). Through stories of everyday activists that have made change happen, sometimes in ways they never intended, he shows how small steps can lead to big changes. The common theme is that someone felt compelled to speak up, followed through, and in so doing gained a sense of connection and purpose rare in today’s world.
One of these activists is Alison Smith, League activist and MCCE Co-Chair. The change she helped create became the Maine Clean Election System. Alison was one of over a thousand volunteers that in one day gathered the signatures needed to bring Clean Elections to the ballot in Maine, and it was passed overwhelmingly by the voters.
The impact she helped make also changed Alison personally. "It gave me a sense that I really can do something just by showing up to further a cause -- this fundamental cause of democracy that affects everything I care about, so my kids won't grow up in a cynical world."
Originally released over ten years ago, this book has inspired a generation of activists, and this update adds new stories offering hope in a time of increasing cynicism. It is an antidote to the sense of powerlessness and despair many feel today. It is a worthwhile read for us all. For more information see http://www.mainecleanelections.org/ and http://www.paulloeb.org/.
- Malory Shaughnessy
Executive Director, MCCE
Gubernatorial Candidates for June 8 Primaries
There will be no shortage of candidates in the gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, June 8.
On the Democratic side, there are five candidates.
· Patrick McGowan, of Hallowell, is a former Commissioner of the Department of Conservation, a former regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and a former three-term legislator from Somerset County. He ran unsuccessfully against former U.S. Representative Olympia Snowe in 1990 and 1992, coming within one percentage point of her vote total in 1990.
· Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell, of Vassalboro, is currently President of Maine’s Senate. She has served nine terms in the House and three terms in the Senate, and she is a former Speaker of the House. In 1984, she ran unsuccessfully against former Senator William Cohen.
· John Richardson, of Brunswick, is a former Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development and a former Speaker of the House. He is an attorney.
· Steven Rowe, of Portland, is a former four-term Attorney General and a former Speaker of the House. He is currently of counsel to the law firm of Verrill Dana.
· Rosa Scarcelli, of Portland, is the owner of Stanford Management, a provider of affordable housing. Her company owns properties in 35 cities and towns across Maine and in other states.
On the Republican side, there are seven candidates.
· Steven Abbott, of Portland, served as Chief of Staff for Senator Susan Collins for 12 years and managed her 2002 and 2008 re-election campaigns. Prior to his work for Senator Collins, he practiced law at Pierce Atwood.
· William Beardsley, of Ellsworth, who has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, served as President of Husson University from 1987 to 2009. Earlier in his career, he served in the executive branches of the states of Vermont and Alaska, and he was employed by Green Mountain Power Company in Vermont and Bangor Hydro Electric Co. in Maine.
· Matthew Jacobson, of Cumberland, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Maine & Company, whose objective is to attract business to and create jobs in Maine. From 1991 to 2005, he was an executive with the railroad industry, most recently Canadian National Railways. Before his railroad career, Jacobson was a U.S. Air Force Pilot.
· Paul LePage, the Mayor of Waterville, is the General Manager of Marden’s. He is also the head of an executive consulting firm.
· Peter Mills, of Cornville, is currently a Maine Senator. He has served seven terms in the Senate and one term in the House. Mills has practiced law in Portland and then Skowhegan for more than 35 years.
· Leslie “Les” Otten, of Greenwood, is the former owner of Sunday River Skiway Corp. He was also a partner in the group that purchased the Boston Red Sox in 2002. Since 2008, Otten has been involved with Maine Energy Systems, which equips homes and businesses with renewable energy systems.
· Bruce Poliquin, of Georgetown, is the general manager of Dirigo Holdings LLC, which is the developer of a 69-unit retirement community on 183 acres in Phippsburg. He was formerly a principal in Avatar Investors Associates Corporation, where he managed the assets of corporate pension plans.
There will be no Green gubernatorial candidate this year. Attorney Lynne Williams, of Bar Harbor, suspended her candidacy because she was unable to gather the 2,000 signatures necessary to gain a spot on the ballot.